This Little Boy Fought for His Life, and He Won!
Most babies are relatively safe from serious diseases, but it can be particularly dangerous if an infant does get sick. Since they cannot talk, parents may not know that something is wrong until it is too late. Fortunately for the Lewsley family, their little boy fought for his life and survived even after being exposed to a very rare and dangerous disease.
Taylor Marshall was only 20 months old when he was infected with a disease that left him fighting for his life. At first, his mother, Terri Lewsley, did not think much was wrong because he just had a mild fever. However, little Taylor’s fever kept rising to higher and higher levels. His mom decided to rush him to the hospital, and she received devastating news there.
Taylor was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, which is an inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by random bacterial infections, and the doctors had no clue how Taylor was even exposed to it. The high fever associated with meningitis can be deadly, and the swelling in the brain can also cause death. While the body is busy fighting the infection, body tissues can start to die from lack of blood flow.
The doctors told Terri that Taylor had an unusual form of meningitis called meningococcal septicemia. They warned his mother that she should prepare for the worst because her son probably would not survive. To increase his chances of living, Taylor was put into a medical coma to slow down the development of the meningitis.
During the medical coma, Taylor started to suffer from kidney failure. He got dark purple rashes that developed into patches of dying skin. Ultimately, the doctors had to amputate his left leg because all of the skin and muscle there was dead. If left alone, the infection could have kept spreading. Despite all of this, Taylor kept fighting for his life.
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Instead of dying like the doctors predicted, he woke up from the coma after 17 days. Though he was no longer in danger of dying, Taylor still had a lot of recovery left. He stayed in the hospital for six more months. During this time, he had to have skin grafts on his face to replace the dead skin. Though he was in pain, he still remained the sweet and friendly toddler that he had been before the illness.
In November, Taylor was finally released from the hospital. Since he had lost his leg, he was fitted with a prosthetic leg so he continue learning how to walk. Terri said that at first Taylor spent more time playing with his prosthetic than actually using it. Eventually, he got used to it and started using it to walk. A year after he got sick, Taylor can now put it on himself and run around like any other toddler.
Because it can worsen so quickly, it is important for parents to know the warning signs of meningitis. In adults, meningitis starts as a headache and very stiff neck. However, babies may not be able to communicate this to their parents. Instead, they might just get fussy or cry more than they usually do. Other warning signs in babies is a high fever, refusing to eat, sleeping excessively, or inability to move their neck.
If your child is suffering from these symptoms, you should take them to the doctor immediately. As Taylor’s story shows, prompt treatment is critical to survival. Without medical care, a child may receive brain damage from the high fever and inflammation. Fortunately, you can lower your baby’s risk of getting meningitis by getting them vaccinated against the illness. This preventative measure can ultimately save your child’s life.